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Marriage is a Promise
Marriage is a sacred promise made by two people with all the very best of intentions. Unfortunately, sometimes… things just don’t go as we hoped they would. Sometimes, even the best of relationships fail.
Between myself and my partner, Wayne, we have a combined experience of 42 years of marriage. We have both been through the manic highs and the devastating lows that come with bringing two human beings who have committed to each other together for life.
One might argue that two people with failed marriages should be last to talk about what works in a marriage… and you might feel the same. But hey – here’s the thing: One of the awesome things about being human, is that we have the great ability to learn from our mistakes. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn. Now, if you go on to make the same mistake twice… well.
Where There Are People, Someone’s Bound to Get Hurt
Pink said, “Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame. Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned”. And just like desire and flame, where there are people, someone’s bound to get hurt.
As complicated as people can be; we are also still a very simple species. I mentioned in another post that we are all driven by only two things in this world – Love or Fear. When we allow fear to take the magic wheel, we become driven by our egos and selfish desires.
You know that time when you set aside some pancake batter, putting in some blueberries for him, instead of the chocolate chips that the children like? That was a grand gesture for him. He read that as you telling him: “You are important to me.”
And what about that time he came home on time to sit down to to a nice, warm dinner with the family, telling you that your cooking hit the spot? That was him telling you: “You are amazing, and I love you”.
Majority of us are driven by ego. Whether it is a good thing or not, is a different topic altogether.
The sooner we understand that mankind is simple, the sooner we allow ourselves to appreciate the little things that make us up – no matter how trivial it may seem.
This, my friend, is the key to a successful marriage. In fact, it is the key to most any relationship.
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Here are 31 Small Things That Will Make a Big Difference in Your Marriage
It may seem that I’m writing from the 50’s – but the truth is… it is what is. Men are simple creatures; and when men are given what they need – they are able to give in return.
1. Respect your partner as an individual
It’s so easy to forget that your husband is actually an individual. We always tend to think of them as “my husband”. Or when when you have children, you might even begin to just see him as “Dad”. Always remind yourself why you married him. Don’t let the person you fell in love with slip away. And the same goes for you!
It’s so important to keep communicating. After a busy day at work or looking after the children, sometimes all you want to do is to zone out and not talk. I get that – I really do! But don’t let that be your daily routine. Talk about your finances together. Discuss your career plans, or your goals in life. Do it together. You’re in it together, remember?
3. Listen to each other
Let his opinions matter. After a few years together, you may find that his way of thinking is different from yours. And so it should. You’re not the same people. But just because he thinks differently from you, don’t dismiss his opinions and his thoughts. Ask for his advice. Ask for his opinion on things. And listen.
4. Hold hands
Remember when you couldn’t keep your hands off each other when you first started dating? When all you wanted to do was hold his hand? Keep doing that. When we have kids, it’s so easy to replace his hands with theirs. But don’t let this happen. Keep holding his hand.
5. Hug each other everyday
There are many studies which support the positive benefits of hugging. When we hug or are hugged, our body releases these complex hormones and signals our brain, telling us that we are loved, we are warm, we are special… and that everything will be okay. Look it up. The psychology of hugging is truly amazing. Why do you think you feel good when your little kids come up for cuddles? It doesn’t matter crazy they drive you… you still open your arms wide for their precious hugs, ya? Your husband needs that too. We all do.
6. Spend time together
I understand that finding time to spend with each other in our busy everyday lives can be a bit of challenge. Life gets in the way. But think about it… if you can drop everything when your boss calls you over to his desk in the middle of a busy work day; why can’t you delay the housework to spend time in front of the telly for a cuddle?
7. Tell him how much he means to you
As time goes by, we take for granted that the people we love will always remain in our lives, right? We’ve given them permission to enter our lives – how dare they even think of a life outside of your home! But really… tell your better half how much he means to you; and how much you appreciate him.
8. Make him a cup of coffee or tea
My partner is the coffee and tea maker in our home. He makes the best cups – my very own personal barista! But let me tell you this… sometimes, he enjoys having a cup that has been prepared by me – even though I suck at it. He relishes that cup of coffee as if he was drinking out of the fountain of life.
9. Ask him about his day
When your husband comes home… give him time to unwind. Don’t just lodge right into things. Seriously. I know this sounds super 1950’s… but give him time to appreciate being at home. Let him take in the sounds, the smells (of your cooking, I mean), and the environment. Ask him how his day was… and then go back to point 3 above, and LISTEN.
10. Give him a back rub
I’m not even talking about a full on massage here. I’m simply saying, give him a back rub. Ease his tired muscles. Did you know that touching offers many health benefits? Didn’t Johnson and Johnson say that Touch was the Language of Love?
11. Compliment him
Tell him how amazing he is! Tell him how handsome and good looking he is. Don’t we all like to know how beautiful we are? Or how well of a job we’ve done? Just because you’re married now… it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t need it.
12. Send him a text during the day to let him know that you are thinking about him
Even a short, silly text will do. “I love you” or “I miss you”… the classic, “I wish you were here”. Imagine him in the middle of a busy day at work; and then he gets your text. Now wouldn’t that put a smile on his face, knowing that someone is thinking of him?
13. Spoil him
Need I say more?
14. Cook his favorite meal
Hands up, those who are guilty of taking the easy way out and cooking meals that you won’t fight your children to eat? Yup! Been there, done that. Now pick a day and cook a meal that he loves. My partner loves pork… but my kids don’t like it (and actually, neither do I); but just to see the look on his face when he realizes that I’ve prepared dinner just for him is priceless.
15. Greet him when he gets home – stop whatever it is you are doing
Be a 1950’s wife and greet him at the door when he comes home. I know this sounds really dumb, but take his coat off, take his bag, and give him a big hug. It takes 2 minutes, but the benefits of it are great and will last a long time.
16. Make him your priority
You chose him, and he chose you. Remember that. Yes we have children. But never push your husband to the back burner.
17. Support him when he’s having a bad day
Listen to what he has to say and let him unload. Don’t dismiss his day by going on about how much worse yours was. Listen to him, and he will listen to you.
18. Believe in him
Be his number one cheerleader. Sometimes, all we need to know is that someone believes in us.
19. Keep the romance going – don’t be afraid of passion
When I talk about romance, I mean even the little things. Give him a peck on the cheek. Or better yet, pash him up. Take him by surprise. This is so important.
20. Try things that he enjoys doing
It is inevitable that he will have interests that differ from yours. Look, I’m not telling you to give in to whatever he wants to do… all I’m saying is to sometimes – sometimes – give it a go.
21. Make time for him – put your phone away
The dangerous mobile phone, aye? Put it away. Give him your full attention.
22. Travel together
Experience new things and places together. Build memories together. Stop saying that you both are too busy.
Related Post: How to Save for a Holiday When Living on a Tight Budget
23. Don’t criticize him in front of others
Oh no, no, no… you’re his number one cheerleader remember?
24. Be his biggest fan
Believe in him. Cheer him on. Trust him.
25. Understand his love language – sex and intimacy
Don’t be embarrassed to share secrets in the bedroom. Who of you have chosen sleep over sex? Hands up! Whoa – no surprises there. We are all simple creatures. But men? They are even simpler. Sex and intimacy is a big deal to them. Try not to say “no”. But hey, if you do need to say “no” tonight… there’s always tomorrow, yah?
26. Give him a surprise
A surprise shows someone that they are on your mind.
27. Kiss him – everyday
Go on… do it. Never stop pashing each other up.
28. Laugh together
Watch a comedy. Go see a stand up comedy show or something. Laughter is so important!
29. Act like his girlfriend
Bring back the days when you were first dating. You’ll both be in for a treat.
30. Let him be the man in the relationship
Because he is! Men NEED to be men. Ask for their help. Let them know you need them.
31. Tell him you love him
Because we all want and need to know that we are loved.
On Why You Said, “I Do”
I made the mistake of taking life’s responsibilities on my shoulders and trudging on. In the process, I forgot about my (ex) husband. I thought he would keep up, but he didn’t. 12 years later, I put away a failed marriage into my luggage of life.
Now I’ve got a second chance. And this time, I’m not going to mess it up.
Marriage is difficult. It really is. There will come a time when you annoy each other and you will wonder why or how you got yourself into this in the first place. But here’s the thing – try and always remember why you love him. Think about what made you say, “yes” and why you said, “I do”.
If today, you don’t get to do anything on this list, don’t worry… tomorrow is a new day.
Go Further: Resources
If you are looking for some resources, here are some great books to read:
- Communication in Marriage: How to Communicate With Your Spouse Without Fighting
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
- How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It